How can Rawlsian ideal theory’s strict compliance assumption be warranted when so many problems of injustice arise precisely because many people fail to comply with their moral obligations? A standard answer is that the assumption is necessary to define the ideal society that should serve as the telos for political decision making: we should respond to injustice by moving towards that distant society as best we can. May offers a quite different answer to the question, one grounded in Rawls’s fundamental conception of society as a fair cooperative scheme.

For a discussion of this issue, please consider joining us Sept 6th for a Discussion of Simon May’s “Why Strict Compliance?” with Jonathan Quong servings as a commentator to kick off the discussion. OUP has kindly offered us open access to this paper so you can check it out here before the discussion begins.